Skip to comments.How Influential is Conservative Talk Radio?
Posted on 02/10/2013 7:45:13 AM PST by TeaPartyJakes
In the wake of the 2012 re-election of Barack Obama, I began to wonder how influential conservative talk radio is.
Serendipitously, I received a copy of Fred V. Lucas new book, The Right Frequency: The Story of Talk Radio Giants Who Shook Up the Political and Media Establishment ($18.95, History Publishing Company).
Throughout the 1980s and 90s I was a guest on television and a lot on talk radio thanks to a popular media spoof, The Boring Institute, that offered lists of The Most Boring Celebrities of the Year, the Most Boring Films, et cetera. After 9/11 I put the Institute on hiatus and then ended it.
This was, coincidently, the same era that saw the rise of talk radio and, in particular, the rise of conservative talk radio stars such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others with audiences in the millions. What has me wondering about their influence, however, is the latest election in which Obama gained a sufficient margin to defeat Mitt Romney despite what is arguably the worst economy since the Great Depression, the passage of Obamacare over the protests of millions of Americans, and similar issues that would ordinarily have rendered him a one-term President.
Perhaps the 2008 election was just an anomaly, given the novelty of a Black candidate and the intense support of the mainstream media. But that pattern repeated itself in 2012 and, despite the 24/7 conservative radio chatter, it did not sway voters.
As Lucas noted, Of listeners to the news talk format of radio, 77 percent voted in the 2008 presidential election, according to the 2010 Talk Radio Research Project conducted by Talkers Magazine, which covers the talk radio industry. That does not mean Limbaugh or for that matter Ed Schultz is the reason certain people vote it is quite likely that the entertainment value of talk radioa mixture of satire and commentaryhas made ordinary Americans more engaged in politics than they would be if talk radio did not have such a large reach, even if some of those listeners are just tuning in to argue with the host.
Some statistics are helpful. According to the 2010 Talk Radio Research Project, 81% of all news talk radio listeners are 35 years or older. Interestingly, just 28% identify themselves as Republicans, while 54% identify themselves as independent. Politically, 40% identified themselves as either conservative or ultra-conservative, while just 15% identified themselves as liberal or ultra-liberal. Talk radio is essentially preaching to the choir.
The lack of liberal talk radio suggests that liberals are less involved with the medium and the failure of Air America Radio with hosts that included Jeanine Garafolo and Al Franken was impressive. Lucas said it was a chaotic mess from its launch with changing ownership, a revolving door of management, and worse yet, a corruption charge. In 2005 it filed for bankruptcy.
For my part, I make a point of listening to the first ten or fifteen minutes of Limbaugh, knowing that he will spend the next three hours exploring a particular theme on any given day. Where I live on the East Coast, WABC radio provides lots of conservative talk and, in the evening, I watch Fox News, but often do not watch for long. Most of the news I absorb daily comes from Internet news sites and my daily reading of The Wall Street Journal.
Is Rush Limbaugh influential? Obama seems to think so because Rush has now replaced George W. Bush as his favorite bogyman and punching bag.
Its worth noting that Rush does not endorse candidates and was lukewarm towards both McCain and Romney during the past two elections. Lucus quotes him as saying I dont say that I have influence. I was totally opposed to the 1990 budget deal and it still happened. I am not an activist this is entertainment.
That, I suspect, is Limbaughs great appeal. He is very entertaining. It does not, so far as I can see, translate into influence at the polls because many of Rushs devoted Ditto Heads may, as they did in the last election, decided to stay home.
The Obama White House knows it has the mainstream media in its pocket. They have become little more than a megaphone for its policies and, these days, an instrument of liberal propaganda. The White House political agenda is advanced by a no-holds-barred attack on anyone who oppose their policies and, of late, a deliberate effort to undermine the Republican Party that is still reeling from the 2012 loss.
Obamas thuggish politics these days involves attacking the leading conservative news outlet. In an interview with The New Republic, Obama continues to denigrate Fox News and Limbaugh, claiming that the more left-leaning media outlets recognize that compromise is not a dirty word. This is a President who has demonstrated no inclination to compromise on anything and a disdain for Congress and the Constitution.
The end of the FCCs Fairness Doctrine in 1987 that required equal time for opposing political views marked the rise of conservative talk radio. Today it can be heard locally and in syndication from coast to coast. Reagan vetoed legislation to make it the law of the land calling it unconstitutional.
That does not mean, however, that conservative talk radio is influential because it appeals to an older, better educated audience, a demographic that leaves out those under 35 and low income listeners, an increasing percentage of whom are on some form of government dole.
A significant portion of low information voters who elected Obama were not listening to conservative talk radio. The popularity of Fox News does not appear to translate into any effect on Congress or the White House. They were all over the Benghazi scandal and it has fizzled.
Despite dwindling newspaper circulation, despite the rise of the Internet as a provider of news, and despite the popularity of conservative talk radio, it would appear that the mainstream media is winning by parroting the daily White House talking points and by burying White House scandals such as the Benghazi cover-up. The recent Sunday Sixty Minutes interview with the President and out-going Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is testimony to the slavish support of the mainstream media.
It does not help that the Republican Party is struggling to put forth a cohesive and persuasive agenda or that it lacks the kind of leadership that reflects the kind of adulation and support the President continues to enjoy.
How many people are converted by hearing the choir?
The hosts play their part of constantly reminding us how powerful them “libruls” are, so I basically shut the radio off two months ago. They are nearly a complete waste of time, a demoralization operation at best.
Talk radio is the the great placation machine for the left and they don’t even realize it. They(MSM left) should encourage talk radio as it relieves the pressure for conservative to actually DO anything. Machiavelli could not have thought of a better scheme to cow the opposition.
>>It does not help that the Republican Party is struggling to put forth a cohesive and persuasive agenda or that it lacks the kind of leadership that reflects the kind of adulation and support the President continues to enjoy.<<
enjoy from the MSM. No non-liberal can get traction (much less constant fellatio) from the LSM.
The Republican leadership has let that same MSM write the narrative and criteria for our leaders.
The problem is NOT demographics. It is lack of courage. We need leaders who are MORE Conservative, not less. Frankly, Rush and Sean SHOULD be picking our candidates!
The low-information voters and people on the government teat are in the majority now, and obviously vote.
It does make sure those in the choir each have a hymnal from which to sing. If you don’t know the lyrics or notes, you sure can’t give a very convincing performance. We need more educated and articulate conservatives in the army to take a convincing message out there.
In the early 1930s, Father Coughlin had the most popular radio show, and H. L. Mencken was America’s most popular topical writer. Did they stop the New Deal?
Politically Incorrect Michael Berry Show Free MP3 Podcasts of KTRH. I enjoy listening to Michael Berry. This is ear candy for a conservative red neck. Michael Berry goes Helihog Hunting. This is the conservative talk show host to listen to for sure.
Jason Lewis' Podcasts The podcasts are free MP3 files. There are three hours each week day. They used to be without commercials. I download them each day and really enjoy listening to Jason. His show is like a course in economics and the law.
Roger Hedgecocks' Podcasts The podcasts are free MP3 files. There are three hours each week day without commercials. Roger gets the word out on most of the shenanigans going on with our excessive big government. He also gets people involved in an effort to promote conservatism.
Mark Levin Audio Podcasts He has been doing a great job of explaining Marxism and the playbook Obama is using, Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky.
I am a talk radio junkie! They tell me things that the Drive-By Media doesn't.
Why just yesterday, Michael Berry told me about meterosexual (sp) pansies.
Here is the link. Men, listen and enjoy. Starts about halfway through the clip.
Download or Listen Here: Michael Berry Podcast
Good Hunting... from Varmint Al
So take the republican millionaires and billionaires and buy up the MSM.
Advertising works, why else would companies pay out 2 million a minute to advertise during the Super Bowl?
The MSM has to be worth a Trillion a year in free advertising. Until you can equal that your message won’t get through.
It’s not the message that is wrong, its the advertising.
To paraphrase: It’s the media stupid!
Fraud! With the number of Democrat precincts reporting statistically highly suspicious 95% turnout , more than 100% turnout, 100% voting for Obama, and reports from voters in Republican precincts of voting machines defaulting to Obama....Well?...who knows if Obama won or not?
The quality of a Democratic Republic will never exceed the quality of the press.
The conservative talkers have done a great job of informing us of the advance of collectivism, while the collectivists just went on advancing.
——We have now had at least one more generation of voters indoctrinated in godless and socialist-entitlement K-12 schools that are prison-like, and Marxist and homo-infested. If we school our nation's children in godless, socialist-entitlement, and prison-like schools we will get generations of voters that are comfortable being socialist and godless prisoners of the state.
-— Out of control immigration. ( Please remember that Native Americans lost their culture to immigration that they failed to control.)
-— More kids than ever marching off to the college level Marxist indoctrination camps.
Even talk radio can't overcome that level of pressure from the Marxist left.
Absolutely right. This is why we have to support Fox, however disappointed we are with them, and Beck's fledgling network. Buying up the LSM networks is also a good idea. It's not an either/or situation. Let's pursue all revolutionary avenues.
Posessing a significant share of the media would counteract the colleges and entertainment industries combined.
As the author alludes to, the greatest power of the MSM lies in the editor’s mind. The news the public never hears fom the MSM is more important and has greater impact than what the public does hear. No POTUS even Obama could survive the multiple stories like Benghazi, F&F, the EPA’s war on private property, the mess that is Obamacare,the unemployment and the overall economy and on and on. Compare the stories on Abu Gharib to Benghazi. The NYT ran it on the front page 70 days in a row. Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingraham, Levin, all pale when compared to the editorial decisions for the evening network news.
Three issues ignored ( among several):
— Homosexuals in the military
— Homofascist bullying of ordinary citizens.
— Calling for the closure of the prison-like, godless, and socialist-entitlement K-12 schools.
Rush, Levin, Hannity, etc. have shown their audiences what cowards they really are and how worthless any of their shows are to listen to. When whatever comes about happens, as far as I am concerned, they are on the same side as Obama. Screw em.
Talk radio is influential among those who listen to it. But most Americans don’t listen to talk radio. We are at our jobs or spending time with our families, etc.
100% right. I'm always surprised when I hear that Rush/Sean continue to pull a significant audience. Half of me doesn't believe it.
I started to recognize your point in the mid ‘90’s when Hannity constantly said “three hours a day, that's all we ask...”. Then I started to ask myself and other like-minded conservatives - how does giving Hannity 3 hours/day effect the kind of change we need here in America? The answer, of course, is it doesn't really. All it does is keep the troops pacified, while lining their pockets with cash.
It was then I stopped wasting my time with them.